Search is on for the North East Business Executive of the Year

The North East Business Executive of the Year is one of the most respected awards schemes for an individual in commerce. Coreena Ford reports on the hunt for the leading player of 2013

The hunt is now on for the stars of the region’s business world as we launch the North East Business Executive of the Year 2013.

As one of the most important events in the business calendar the awards – run by The Journal in association with the Evening Gazette on Teesside – single out the efforts and achievements of our top business people.

And having come through one of the toughest economic challenges to sweep the region, this year’s judges will be looking for passionate enablers who have led their businesses to success against the odds.

In addition to the top award, there are trophies for the Young Business Person of the Year, who must be aged 30 or under, Non-Executive Director of the Year, which aims to recognise the vital role non-executives can play in the development of companies of all sizes, whether private, public or charitable organisations, and a Lifetime Achievement Award.

This year we also welcome back investment management firm Brewin Dolphin as the associate sponsor of the competition.

John Duns, the firm’s business development and marketing director, is joining the judging panel for the first time and is greatly looking forward to rooting out some of the big success stories.

Duns is perfectly positioned to take his seat on the judging panel, having been an integral part of the North East business community for more than three decades, starting when he joined Thompson Newspapers – former owners of NCJMedia – back in 1984.

The director is responsible for leading and developing the firm’s brand and business in the region and for the past six years has been integral in growing business locally, as well as being the driving force behind a series of high profile local advertising campaigns.

“I’ve been involved in business in the North East since 1984 when I walked through the doors of the Chronicle and Journal, selling industrial and commercial advertising in The Journal.

“Having been involved in management I know how difficult it is because you ultimately have to rely upon the success of others – you have to enthuse passion into others too.”

Employing 350 people, the Newcastle Brewin Dolphin office is the largest outside of London in England, and the company also has a strong Teesside presence, and is one of the largest independent investment and financial planners in the UK.

Around 60 of the staff members are client-facing wealth managers, looking after the portfolios of around 4,000 people.

And five years on from replacing the Wise Speke name with its parent company name, Brewin Dolphin, the firm are keen to continue to promote their brand further and build the client list, and our prestigious awards allow the firm to do just that.

Duns said: “Without successful North East businesses, Brewin Dolphin would not have a business of this size in Newcastle. It’s incredibly important for us that the area is prosperous.

“We know that the North East has many challenges business wise – the facts are there – but what I think is incredibly motivating is that number of successful North East businesses, and this award exemplifies that, and what it proves to us is that there are business people who are often North East born and bred who build their businesses, and winning this award is recognition of their efforts and their employees.

“So, successful North East businesses equals successful Brewin Dolphin – so there is an incredibly important reason for us to get involved from that angle.

“We want to develop our own business. We have 4,000 clients and manage money for many entrepreneurs and professionals but we want more so from a branding point of view for us this is very important.”

The past 12 months have continued to present challenges across all business sectors, yet regular readers of The Journal’s business pages will know success stories are plentiful, as firms explore new markets, new business channels and take risks to protect their futures and come out on top.

Now Duns and the judging panel will be seeking out those who led firms through the tough times.

“We need business people who can demonstrate a successful track record – the evidence has to be there of profitable growth, of finding business in the right markets – but there are other elements including the contribution that company may make to employment, and the character and personality of the potential winner.

“They need to have something special about them, be able to demonstrate a strategic approach and demonstrate that they have made a difference - have they turned the business round, grown it from scratch, acquired another business or found a new product line? What makes them stand apart? Have they been prepared to take risks that others may not have done? All of the previous winners fall into these categories.”

The awards are split into sub-regional heats – Tyneside and Northumberland, Durham and Wearside and Teesside. The overall winner will be chosen from the top executives crowned for each sub-region. The closing date for nominations is Tuesday, August 20.

To make a nomination, reserve a table, or for more details, log on to www.thejournal.co.uk/businessexec and regular updates are to be found on Twitter if you use the hash tag #businessexec. Alternatively contact Lesley Hampson, events manager on 0191 201 6435 or email lesley.hampson @trinitymirror.com

The awards dinner will be held on November 14 at the Newcastle Marriott Hotel, Gosforth Park.

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